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What color are May birthstones?

What color are May birthstones?

May birthstones come in a range of beautiful colors. The two main birthstones associated with May are emerald and chrysoprase. Emerald is a rich green gemstone that has been treasured for centuries. Chrysoprase is an apple-green variety of chalcedony quartz. Both stones make stunning and meaningful birthstone gifts for people born in May.

The May birthstones – emerald and chrysoprase

The modern birthstone list associates emerald and chrysoprase with May. This list was created by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912 and has gone through a few revisions over the years. Here is some key information about May’s two birthstones:


– Vibrant green color ranging from bluish-green to yellowish-green
– A variety of the mineral beryl
– Mohs hardness scale rating of 7.5-8, making it a durable gemstone
– Often found with inclusions
– Historically mined in Colombia, Brazil, Zambia, and Russia
– Thr most prized and valuable variety of beryl


– Translucent green color ranging from yellow-green to blue-green
– A variety of cryptocrystalline quartz or chalcedony
– Mohs hardness scale rating of 6-7, slightly softer than emerald
– Often contains impurities like iron oxide that give it color
– Historically mined in Poland, Russia, Australia, Brazil, and the United States
– Less expensive than emerald

So in summary, emerald is a rich green beryl gemstone prized for its color and rarity. Chrysoprase is an affordable apple-green quartz gem with a slightly lower hardness. Both are stunning green stones perfect for May birthdays.

The history and lore of May birthstones

Emeralds and chrysoprase have a rich history and cultural significance as May birthstones. Here is some background on each stone:

Emerald History

– Mined in Egypt as early as 330 BC
– Cleopatra was known to have a passion for emeralds
– South American deposits discovered by Spanish explorers in the 16th century
– Worn by the elite and royalty throughout history as a symbol of wisdom, growth, and patience
– Believed to have healing powers and the ability to ward off evil
– Given as a token of love and rebirth
– Associated with the astrological sign of Cancer

Chrysoprase History

– First mined in Silesia (now in Poland) in the 1500s
– Name comes from the Greek words for “gold” and “leek” referring to its color
– Popular in Russian jewelry starting in the 1700s
– Mined in Australia and Brazil starting in the 1800s
– Believed to instill happiness, joy, and openness
– Also thought to provide inner peace and relieve anxiety
– Sometimes called the “stone of Venus” due to connections with the goddess

So in summary, emerald has long been an elite gemstone prized by royalty, while chrysoprase became popular more recently as a joyful and peaceful birthstone. Both are rich in lore and meaning.

The colors of May birthstones

May’s two birthstones come in a range of verdant greens. Here are some details on the colors of emerald and chrysoprase:

Emerald Colors

– Pure green ranging from bluish-green to yellowish-green
– The most prized color is a vivid grass green without too much blue or yellow
– Colors are influenced by small amounts of elements like chromium and vanadium
– The presence of iron gives some stones a slightly yellowish tint
– Natural emerald is never black, but may appear dark with heavy inclusions

Chrysoprase Colors

– Apple-green, spring-green, or yellow-green
– Ranges from yellowish-green to blue-green
– Color comes from traces of nickel, iron, or copper impurities
– Most prized stones have a bright, translucent color without appearing too dark
– Natural material is never neon green – that indicates a treated stone

Ideal emerald and chrysoprase are both medium-light to medium-dark greens. Highly saturated, vivid shades with no brown or yellow hues are the most desirable. But there is some flexibility in shades based on individual stones and preferences.

How May birthstones are graded for quality

Emeralds and chrysoprase are graded using slightly different quality assessment criteria based on their chemical makeup. Here is an overview:

Emerald Grading

Grade Clarity Color
AAA No visible inclusions Vivid green
AA Minor inclusions Strong green
A Noticeable inclusions Good green
B Obvious inclusions Medium green
C Heavy inclusions Pale green

– Judged on the 4Cs: color, clarity, cut, and carats
– Vivid greens with few inclusions get the highest grades
– Almost all emeralds have at least minor flaws
– Fractures and clouds are the most common inclusions

Chrysoprase Grading

Grade Clarity Color
A Transparent Bright green
B Translucent Medium green
C Opaque Pale green

– Graded on translucency, purity of color, lack of flaws
– Transparent, bright stones are highest quality
– Translucent, paler stones are still usable but less valuable
– Degree of polish and cut quality also factors in

In summary, vivid greens with few visible flaws get the top grades among May birthstones. But emerald is expected to have some imperfections, while chrysoprase can achieve higher clarity.

How much do May birthstones cost?

Emeralds have a wide range of pricing, while chrysoprase costs significantly less on average. Here are some typical price ranges:


– 1 carat AAA grade: $5,000-$10,000 per carat
– 1 carat AA grade: $1,500-$3,000 per carat
– 1 carat A grade: $500-$1,000 per carat
– 1 carat B grade: $150-$400 per carat
– 1 carat C grade: Less than $100 per carat

– Larger stones over 5 carats command exponentially higher prices
– Untreated, unenhanced stones from Colombia fetch premium prices
– Some rose-cut stones are more affordable at $250-$800 per carat


– 1 carat translucent: $15-$30 per carat
– 1 carat opaque: Less than $10 per carat
– Larger stones up to 20 carats: $5-$15 per carat
– Polish and cut quality influence price
– Enhanced stones with color treatments cost less

In summary, flawless emerald can rival diamonds in price, but most fall in the affordable hundreds of dollars per carat range. Chrysoprase is a relative bargain at just $15-$30 per carat for nice stones.

How to identify fake May birthstones

Natural emerald and chrysoprase can be imitated by treated stones and synthetics. Here’s how to spot fakes:


– Unnaturally bright, vivid green – real stones are usually more muted
– Distinct color banding or zoning
– Perfect clarity with no flecks – natural emerald has inclusions
– Bright flashes of color – should be more subdued
– Cheap prices for large perfect stones – too good to be true


– Neon or kelly green color – not found in nature
– Perfectly round beads with matched color – real chrysoprase varies
– Transparent stones – natural material is translucent at best
– No visible markings – real chrysoprase has inclusions
– Again, unnaturally bright saturated color indicates treatment

When in doubt, get appraised by a reputable professional gemologist. They can separate fakes from real May birthstones using advanced testing techniques. Trust your instincts if a deal seems suspiciously cheap.

How to care for May birthstones

Here are some tips for keeping emerald and chrysoprase jewelry looking its best:

– Store pieces separately from other gems to prevent scratches
– Clean with gentle soap, water, and a soft brush
– Avoid steam cleaners, ultrasonic cleaners, and harsh chemicals
– Don’t let emerald soak in water long – can damage fractures
– Take off when doing heavy work or sports
– Keep away from heat and intense light over time
– Have stones re-polished and re-set periodically by a jeweler

With some basic care, May birthstone jewelry can remain beautiful heirlooms to pass from generation to generation. Chrysoprase is more durable for daily wear than delicate emerald.

How to wear May birthstones

Here are ideas for stylishly wearing May’s green birthstones:


– Pendant necklaces with solitaire emeralds as statement pieces
– Vintage-inspired emerald cocktail rings
– Tennis bracelets set with emerald accents
– Art Deco style emerald and diamond drop earrings
– Antique emerald brooches or pins for green flair


– Chrysoprase bead bracelets and necklaces
– Stacked chrysoprase rings in both silver and gold
– Chrysoprase stud earrings in rose or yellow gold
– Vibrant green chrysoprase on men’s watch faces
– Large chrysoprase cabochon rings

For pale spring and summer outfits, pair vibrant May birthstone greens with neutral whites, creams, tans, and lighter blues. The verdant tones flatter fair and warm skin equally.

Unique May birthstone jewelry ideas

Beyond classic emerald and chrysoprase looks, here are unique ways to wear these stones:

– Mixed birthstone rings with emerald and sapphire or chrysoprase and ruby
– Victorian-style engraved emerald and seed pearl necklaces
– Art Nouveau emerald and diamond pendants on black silk cords
– Chrysoprase slices on natural linen and hemp cords for an organic look
– Diamonds shaped into leaves, vines, or flowers accented with small emeralds
– Square cut emeralds and chrysoprase on midcentury modern gold jewelry
– Emerald or chrysoprase jewelry sets inspired by the 1970s
– Mixed metal stackable rings with chrysoprase, emeralds, and other gems

There are endless options for one-of-a-kind May birthstone statement pieces combining these green gems with other stones, metals, and vintage styles. Seek out specialty jewelers and artisans for custom designs.

Where to buy May birthstones

Here are some options for buying emerald and chrysoprase:

– Local jewelers – especially for custom or vintage looks
– Major jewelry retailers like Kay, JCPenney, etc. – affordable mainstream options
– Estate sales and antique stores – one-of-a-kind older pieces
– Gem shows, mineral shows, and fairs – buy directly from suppliers
– Online sellers like Etsy – independent artists and custom work
– Overseas emeralds sold through India-based companies – significant cost savings

Be an informed buyer and carefully vet the reputation and return policies of any retailer before purchasing, especially online companies. Try to buy in person when possible so you can see stones firsthand. For unique antique or custom designs, local jewelers are your best bet.


May’s two breathtaking birthstones, emerald and chrysoprase, make meaningful gift options for people born under the signs of Taurus and Gemini. Their verdant hues evoke renewal, growth, and the vibrant greens of springtime. With proper care and styling, these May birthstones can be treasured forever as heirlooms. Whether you seek a showstopping emerald or affordable chrysoprase piece, May babies are lucky to claim these two lush green gems as their birthstones.